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Home Recording

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I'm looking to set up some equipment for me to record some vocal/acoustic guitar songs, but don't really know where to begin. I have a crappy laptop and was wondering if I could get some sort of external sound card to record to. For the other equipment, could I just hook up a microphone (condensor, I assume) to the sound card and play back the guitar stuff through headphones to sing along with?

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About the playing back through headphones thing, thats how it works. you record the guitar, then record the vocal with the same mic. the software will play back the guitar track automatically for you to sing along. you can find laptop recording packages around that come with a mini mixer, mic, cable and recording software. i think a podcast package would come with similar stuff. i think i saw those on guitar centers website.

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I picked up a copy of Home Recording For Musicians For Dummies, and it talks about USB 2.0 interfaces. Am I safe to assume my laptop has USB 2.0's (got it last year, Dell 1501)?

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I'd say you have a good bet..

then again, just check dell.com 's support section for your system's specs..

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For those doing home recording on the cheap, get yourself a copy of Audacity. It's an open source multi track recording and editing program that's easy to use, and IT'S FREE.

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

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Go to musiciansfriend.com, search for USB, and take a look at the kind of equipment that's available. You should have no trouble finding a USB audio interface with a couple XLR inputs for $150-200.

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I would recommend Cakewalk Sonar Home Edition for home recording. If you're a student or teacher you can get it the full version for $80. I tend to shy away from open source or free audio programs because the support for them is usually lacking. With a program like Cakewalk, you'll be getting access to patch updates, upgrades and tech support.

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